Explore BrainMass

'Journaling' in Research

Journaling is one important tool that a researcher can use to study, observe, and reflect on collected data. Detail your experience of journaling, and an analysis of how journaling could be useful in your future research.

Consider the potential usefulness of journal writing for the personal and professional development of a qualitative researcher. How can journaling help you develop as a researcher?

Craft a 3-page paper in which you do the following:
Render an account and an analysis of your journal writing experience.
Be sure to include considerations of how journal writing can help with the development of a qualitative researcher, or a researcher in general.

Solution Preview

Hi and thank you for patience. In this particular task, you are being asked to write on a particular research skill. I suggest using this simple outline:

1. On Journaling in Research - 200 words
2. Application Examples (use Creswell, Janesick) - 200 words
3. Exercises (300 words)
a. observations
b. interviews
c. researcher role
4. Reflection on Journal Entries - 150 words
5. Use of Journaling - 150 words

This outline should yield around 900 words which should cover the 3-page requirement. You can also use the listed resources to further explore the topic.

'Journaling' in Research

Creswell (2012) refers to journaling as a king of 'reflective learning' research, especially those only taking up the study of 'doing research'. He writes (Creswell, 2012), "Structured opportunities for critical reflection, such as journaling and meaningful conversation with others, allowed students to uncover passions, integrity and commitment to self-assessment and learning. The reflection was initially with a parent or a sibling; participants described dinner table conversations, family meetings, and the listening ear of close-age siblings...they began to process their experiences with other adults and peers." Here of course, he relays how his students first experience the reflective process, which is an essential element in processing social experience. As human beings, we are not removed from our subjects - we are part of the social world and must therefore process our experiences just as well as what we have come to study and observe. Doing so helps us avoid the subject-object problem, or issues of bias, that might creep up on the study without our intent. But for students, writing down their experience, what they, think, how they feel, what they observe, what their subjects said - this allows for them to create 'notes from the field' so that what they come to gather is data of the social experience. The notion of 'journaling' is the act of writing down field notes, also known in the field as 'memoing'.

For Creswell (2012), writing down memos and observations as well as reflections into a journal is building one's data source, just as essential as interviews, participant observation and the creation of focus groups, especially in the practice of qualitative research. Janesick (2004) warns that doing qualitative research, including 'journaling' is not just a simple exercise of 'writing down' stuff observed. The researcher needs to 'stretch' and 'prepare' as one does an exercise because doing research is an exercise of skill. She writes (Janesick, 2010) about, " a focus on developing good habits of mind, including observation habit, the interview habit, the writing habit, keeping a researcher reflective journal habit, the creative habit, the analysis and interpretation of the data habit and the construction of poetry habit," with all but the latter focused on developing research-essential skills and the latter for inspiration and an exercise on creativity which is a skill necessary in interpretive data exercises. The American Museum of Natural History (2014) encourages all researchers, even those on their very early stages of study and training to develop journaling skills so as to keep a record of their studies and experiences related to it. They advise (AMNH, 2014), "How you record data is a mixture of formal requirements and your own needs and skills. Field journals end up being very personal. It may take some trial and error before you come up with the way that works best for you." While what is recorded differ on the science and the purpose of the study, the ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task of putting together a narrative on topic of journaling and its role in research. Examples are provided. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.